Canadiens Blank Avalanche – Price Gets Shutout

MONTREAL — Carey Price stopped all 28 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 on Saturday night.

Brett Kulak, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jordie Benn, into the empty net, scored third-period goals for the Canadiens (24-17-5), who had dropped three of their previous four games.

Semyon Varlamov gave up two goals on 30 shots for the slumping Avalanche (20-17-8), who have lost nine of their last 10 games.

After two scoreless periods, Montreal got a goal from an unlikely source when Kulak scored his second of the season to break the deadlock.

With the Canadiens playing shorthanded, Kulak scored right off a faceoff in Colorado’s zone at 8:21 of the third.

The goal revitalized the home side and Kotkaniemi made it 2-0 at 10:39 on a one-timer after nifty stickwork by Jonathan Drouin along the half-wall.

Benn added the empty-netter with 1:16 left in the game.

Colorado has dropped the first three games on its current five-game Canadian road trip.

With Montreal’s recent scoring woes — five goals in its previous four games — coach Claude Julien shuffled his top three lines to provide a spark on offence.

Julien moved Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault to the top line with Drouin, sending Max Domi down to centre the second line.

Tomas Tatar, who’s played the entire season with Gallagher and Danault, was demoted to the third line alongside rookie Kotkaniemi and Paul Byron.

Julien also tweaked his two power-play units, to no avail. Montreal’s league-worst power play went 0 for 3. Montreal’s best chance with the man advantage came four minutes into the third period when captain Shea Weber’s one-timer hit the post.

The Canadiens are 1 for 20 on the power play in their last six games. They’re 0 for 27 on the power play at home dating back to Dec. 1.

Price was solid between the pipes, making key saves to keep the Canadiens in the game. In the first, Price made a hard glove save look easy when Tyson Jost walked in all alone. In the third, the 31-year-old stopped Matt Calvert on the breakaway.

Carey Price, Nathan MacKinnon, Shea Weber,
Colorado Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon moves in on Montreal Canadiens Carey Price as Canadiens captain Shea Weber defends. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)

Notes: Nathan MacKinnon saw his eight-game point streak snapped. … The Avalanche have conceded 41 goals in their last nine road games.

The Canadian Press